2 rounds are left of Veikkausliiga 2018 and the situation has not changed a bit since the last preview. The most interesting situation lies around position 3 and 11. Who will get the final European spot, and who will have to qualify for a spot in the top tier 2019?
Ilves v FC Lahti
The Bobcats from Tampere had enjoyed of a historical streak against KuPS prior to this season, going unbeaten against the Kuopio side in over 10 league games. However, this year KuPS proved to be superior, something they should have been every single time before.
A 2-0 loss at Savon Sanomat Arena dropped the Tampere club a bit off from the podium race, as Honka grabbed a win, too. However, with only three points up to both KuPS and Honka, Ilves hopes are still alive.
However, reaching the third position would require almost a miracle, as KuPS are facing two bottom sides, and Honka’s remaining schedule is possibly even easier, facing two mid-table-clubs that could not care less.
Fortunate to Ilves, they are facing FC Lahti, who are an absolute mess, and in my eyes, a guarantee for points.
The odd decision made by FC Lahti’s board, which was to fire Korkeakunnas with three rounds left did not do a favor for the former assistant manager Sami Ristilä. The squad has lost all its interest for this year and it is far too late in the season for Ristilä to start experimenting with his own ideas.
Unless Ristilä finds a way to ignite his team at a meaningless point of the season, I see no reason why Ilves would not grab three full points and keep up their hopes of a podium finish.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves -0.75 at 1.884
PS Kemi v IFK Mariehamn
The winter blues in the Arctic Circle is wide-known phenomena, and although Kemi is a few miles south of the cold and harsh geographical area, they sure as hell are feeling the blues even though winter is yet to come.
I have written plenty of the despair in Kemi, everything that went wrong starting from firing Jari Åhman and replacing him with a Scotsman who arguably has no talent as a coach. Steven Polack has the unfavorable post of skipping the sinking ship for the rest of the season, while the club is trying to find both funds and a new head coach for next season’s despair.
Now, IFK Mariehamn have been god-awful more or less the whole season, with a few, say tops 70 minutes, of acceptable football. Last round they set their feet on more solid ground as they made fun of FC Lahti by 3-0 – which, by the way, is another argument for an Ilves win.
See also: Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne
So, as this lopsided team from the Åland Isles managed to demolish an FC Lahti by 3-0, what can they do to a PS Kemi, where the few pros left are only eager to finish the season and move back to Southern Finland?
Kemi’s situation is so indescribably awkward that any team with pride of profession or what not can and should grab a win by a big margin home or away against them. We will probably see a lot of change in Mariehamn this Winter, but the players probably want to enjoy this match.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn -1.00 at 2.000
VPS v RoPS
It has been clear for a few rounds now which players are leaving VPS. With another heinous Fall season for VPS, it has become clear for Petri Vuorinen whom to count on, and whom to not give a crap about.
The downfall has been partially explicable by these players, and without going further in detail, I will just say that these players did not step up when needed. That is if you have been wondering why players that were in the starting eleven earlier in the season and normally should be, but are not, well, there is that.
A toxic environment or not, nonetheless, VPS did put up a good fight at HJK last round. They did not create much forwards, but defensively they were fine for the first time in ages.
That does not put up too big hopes for the home team in this matchup, however, their visitors have been in a clearly negative trend. It is something that RoPS’ head coach Toni Koskela has expressed clearly.
Despite beating bottom-side TPS by 1-2 in Turku, Koskela was far from happy with his guys’ performance. What has otherwise been a true joy to watch this season, RoPS have completely lost the thread as soon as the finishing line started to get really close.
They have been almost unrecognizable, losing possession in awkward situations where they did not use to, and hitting long balls when they are not supposed to.
Sure, they have had time to sort it out thanks to the international break, but in my experience, these breaks rarely help a team in Veikkausliiga. With that said, I would not be surprised if the game ends in a draw, which would be a result that barely helps either side.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS 0.50 at 1.810
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